Questions About the Use of the Congregation's Computers and the Internet
Is there a model policy for the appropriate use of the congregation's computers and the Internet?
The following is a sample policy that you may have your Congregation Council review for possible use.
Staff and volunteers of ____________Church who are designated to have access to the Internet and church technology are required to use their access in a Christian, legal, and informed way, conforming to network etiquette, laws and courtesies.
___________ Congregation Council will determine:
- the extent to which staff/volunteers may use the Internet and/or church computers to accomplish job responsibilities. Any questions about the appropriateness of a particular use of the Internet should be discussed with the supervisor;
- the appropriateness of using the Internet and/or church computers for professional contacts and career development activities during office hours;
- the training required of staff using the Internet and/or church computers and the work time that may be used to practice/acquire skills needed to effectively access and use the Internet and/or church computers; and
- the wisdom of installing a pornography filter or other internet blocking software.
The Internet is not a secure communication channel and should not be used for sending or receiving confidential or sensitive information.
Use of the Internet and computers is a privilege, not a right, which may be revoked at any time for inappropriate conduct. Misuse of Internet access or computers by a staff person may result in other disciplinary action, including but not limited to, termination of employment. Examples of inappropriate conduct include, but are not limited to: use of inappropriate, offensive or abusive language in either public or private messages; unlawful activities; defamation; infringement of copyrights; misrepresentation of oneself or the church; logging on or accessing pornographic, sexually explicit, violent sites or materials, accessing gambling sites, initiating viruses, and sending messages that might result in congestion or disruption of networks and systems.
Staff should notify the pastor or officer if s/he observes or becomes aware of any inappropriate conduct or use of the Internet and/or church computers by church staff or others.
All programs, files, and E-mail are property of _________ Church. Staff use of church technology is not private. _________ Church reserves the right to monitor staff use of the Internet and/or church computers at any time. Staff must abide by security policies, procedures and guidelines, and are to refrain from practices which might jeopardize the church’s computers, data, network, systems security or work in general. Staff must guard against computer viruses and security breaches of any kind. Staff who use the Internet may not transfer or install any software or files from the Internet to any church computers or information systems except in consultation with appropriate technical staff (i.e., no downloading of software, programs, games, etc.).
Although church staff is specifically mentioned throughout this policy, the same provisions apply to church volunteers. This policy applies to all Internet/computer use on church premises and use of church property outside of the church premises. *
* Clarification - In some churches the staff may supply or use their own Internet access provider, software or even computer, or may be using church property off site. It may be important to note that this policy applies even if some, or all, of the computer equipment/Internet access is not supplied by the church on its premises and to use of church property off site.